Baseball America Nats No. 9 prospect: SS Yasel Antuna

At No. 9 on the Baseball America top 10 Nationals prospects list is 20-year-old shortstop Yasel Antuna.

Antuna is from Peravia, D.R., and is a switch-hitter who battled injuries in 2019, which held him to only three games for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals. In 2018, Antuna played in 87 games for Single-A Hagerstown. The infielder slashed .220/.293/.331 with 14 doubles, two triples, six homers, eight stolen bases and 27 RBIs.

Baseball America Nationals correspondent Lacy Lusk says Antuna came along originally with the highly touted Luis Garcia before injuries slowed his growth. Antuna was signed on July 2, 2016, the same day as Garcia.

“Luis advanced a lot faster than Antuna up to Double-A,” Lusk said. “Injuries and the lack of production the way Garcia (performed) has stalled Antuna, but the Nats are still excited about what he can do if he gets a full season as well.”

Nats-Red-Cap-Glove-Sidebar.jpgAntuna had Tommy John surgery in 2018. So it’s been a couple of seasons that Antuna has not been able to play over 100 games. The Nats would like him to be healthy for a full slate of games to see what they have with Antuna. Hopefully, a ton of at-bats in successive games over a few months will help him get into a groove at the plate.

He did participate in the Nats instructional league in September. Ironically, he recovered from Tommy John with the Nats No. 10 prospect, left-hander Seth Romero, last spring.

“They still plan to play him at shortstop,” Lusk said. “I am sure they will watch him and make sure that he’s healthy as he goes throughout the season and maybe give him a few games as DH.”

With Garcia moving up and playing a full 129 games with Double-A Harrisburg, it would be nice to see what Antuna can do for high Single-A Potomac. But because he hasn’t played in Single-A for almost two years, the Nats will be cautious as to where Antuna begins and how many at-bats he gets at each stop.

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